Glenn Phillips Band
Glenn Phillips Bio
Over the last 45 years, Glenn Phillips has made his living as a guitarist and composer and has 12 critically acclaimed albums out under his own name. Two of his releases received 4-star reviews in Rolling Stone, including Echoes, a double-CD compilation released on Virgin Records (as were his first two solo albums). Of his work, Rolling Stone wrote, "If rock & roll guitarists were kamikaze pilots, Glenn Phillips would be in heaven right now."
Born in 1950, his musical career began in 1967, as a founding member and songwriter of the legendary Hampton Grease Band. The group released a double LP on Columbia and played with countless classic bands of the era, including Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac and The Allman Brothers. Frank Zappa was a fan of the band, and one of their many historic shows was at the Fillmore East with Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Phillips jammed with Zappa that evening, as did John Lennon and Yoko Ono. In 1996, Sony re-released the Hampton Grease Band, which included an extensive history of the group written by Phillips. It received a 9 out of 10, "near perfect" rating in Spin Magazine, and interest in the band continues. The Dec. 2008 Oxford American magazine contained a feature article on the group as well as its music on a CD included in the issue, and they had this to say: "The Grease Band's guitar player, Glenn Phillips, was better and more interesting as a guitarist than Frank Zappa . . ."
In 1973 Phillips began his solo career. Lowell George, the leader of Little Feat, called him "the most amazing guitarist I've ever seen," and Phillips frequently sat in with the band. In 1975, he released his first album, Lost at Sea. Recorded at home and self-released, it predated, as well as influenced, the entire do-it-yourself movement that overtook rock music several years later. It was championed by influential British DJ John Peel, who played it regularly on the BBC, and London's leading music magazine, NME, held a reader's poll, where it came in 2nd. That was followed by famed entrepreneur Richard Branson flying over from England to sign Phillips to Virgin Records, making him the first American act signed to the label. Virgin then brought Phillips overseas to tour extensively, including a concert at London's famed Rainbow Theater.
In the years since, Phillips has toured and recorded regularly with his own group and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Pete Buck of REM, and Cindy Wilson of the B-52s. Phillips' 1988 recording with Henry Kaiser received San Francisco's coveted Bammy award and NPR has played his music regularly on All Things Considered for the past 20 years.
The one constant throughout his career has been that his music has remained as unique as it is acclaimed. From Relix, "Phillips is a guitarist with flair and imagination and seemingly limitless technical ability. He comes up with a sound that defies categorization. His music is melodic, it's tough, it's uplifting, it's inventive and highly recommended," and from Guitar Player, "A supremely musical player, Phillips has something few musicians attain: a voice of his own."
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